Puppies enter adolescence around 5 - 8 months old, which is when acne can be at its worst. As their bodies are changing so is their skin. Bacteria can enter the skin or hair follicle, which leads to an infection.
Skin irritations can occur as blackheads, pustules, or red bumps. Some acne can ooze with pus or blood when scratched. The most common acne areas are around the mouth, chin, chest, and groin area.
Some dog breeds are more prone to acne like bulldogs, boxers, and dobermans. Shorter fur doesn't protect the skin as well as long fur. Wrinkles can trap bacteria, making infections more likely to occur.
If your pup is experiencing acne due to puberty, most dog’s skin clears by their 1st birthday.
Puppies can always get into nasty things that can introduce bacteria to their skin. Try to keep your pup clean by using organic baby wipes to clean sensitive areas (mouth, chin, and groin areas). Clean wrinkles, paws, and wipe fur nightly before bed.
Use stainless steel or porcelain bowls for feeding and drinking. Plastic bowls can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
For skin folds, use a dog wrinkle cream or skin soothing ointment to prevent irritation. Dry, irritated skin can become cracked, which makes it easier for bacteria to invade.
Regular baths are a must but overwashing can lead to dry, irritated skin. For more about this topic, click here.
Scratching and biting skin irritations can spread the infection. And one must resist the urge to “pop” zits since that can introduce bacteria on the skin surface.
Most acne will go away on its own after 7-14 days.
Visit your vet immediately if acne:
- Covers large area or the area is growing in size
- Oozes with pus or blood
- Seems painful
Not going away after 2 weeks
Your vet will examine your dog to determine if irritation is due to bacteria or fungus. Topical creams and washes can be used to clear the skin. If the infection is widespread, an oral antibiotic may also be used.
Dog acne can be embarrassing. Adolescent dogs have a higher rate of acne but it can happen at any age. Prevention is key! Introducing a skin care routine early in your dog’s life can help to prevent breakouts.
This blog is for informational purposes only. The information given should not be used as a substitute for veterinary evaluation.